Mexican wine


We know what it’s like to go on vacation. It’s fun to have a change of scene and learn about another culture, but if you can also find some good wine along the way, that makes it even better! There is a true tradition of Mexican wine, and while it may not be as prestigious as French or Italian wine, it’s a local product that might surprise you.


Historically, the Spanish launched vine growing in Mexico. Soon after their arrival, the Conquistadors had exhausted the stocks of European wine they had brought with them, so one of the first policy decisions Hernán Cortès made as governor of Mexico in 1521 was to order the planting of vines imported from Europe to alleviate the shortage. This makes Mexican wine the oldest in the Americas, coming well before wines from Argentina or California.


Most Mexican wine is now produced in the state of Baja California in the Guadalupe Valley, right next door to the US state of California. With its very dry, almost Mediterranean climate, this region lends itself particularly well to viticulture. There are two distinct trends here. On the one hand, there's a group of three massive producers with significant market shares: L.A. Cetto, Santo Tomas, and Monte Xanic, which you’ll find in most of the country’s supermarkets and which are exported throughout the American continent. On the other, there are dozens of small producers who rely on inventiveness and local color to make themselves stand out from the crowd.


The most popular grape varieties in Mexico are still the international ones: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah for red wines, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon for white wines. But there are also several lesser-known grape varieties, some of European origin, such as Palomino from Spain and Nebbiolo from Italy, and others characteristic of viticulture in the Americas, such as Zinfandel.


While you can enjoy these many and varied wines in restaurants or buy them in supermarkets or specialty stores, the Guadalupe Valley also boasts infrastructures dedicated to wine tourism. It’s definitely a long way from the Yucatan Peninsula, but if you can fit it into your vacation plans, you’ll be sure to discover the full extent of this authentic winegrowing tradition that deserves more recognition than it gets right now.